The seemingly simple task of moving our bodies would be impossible without the work of our joints. They are one of the unsung heroes of our bodies, helping us to move efficiently while at the same time helping to support our weight. Overuse, injury, age, obesity and genetics are all contributing factors that may result in joint pain and arthritis, a leading cause of disability worldwide.
Two of the top supplements for keeping joints functioning at their best are glucosamine and chondroitin. These two nutrients are key components of the extracellular matrix of connective tissue that makes up a healthy joint, and are important for providing the joint with elasticity and resistance.1 Glucosamine in particular has been shown to help with the synthesis of new cartilage and may reverse the effects of interleukin-1, a damaging protein known to cause joint inflammation and degeneration.2,3
EPA and DHA, the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and krill oil are some of nature’s most potent anti-inflammatories and can help to reduce stiffness and pain, acting like natural lubricants for the joints. While some natural supplements for joint pain are slow acting, a recent clinical trial showed that krill oil significantly inhibited inflammation and reduced the symptoms of arthritis within a short period of time.4
For both acute and chronic pain, herbal anti-inflammatories can provide joint-pain sufferers with the relief they need without the side-effects often experienced with prescription anti-inflammatory medications. Herbs such as devil’s claw, cat’s claw and turmeric have a long history of traditional use for arthritic conditions, with modern scientific research supporting these claims.5 Enzymes such as those found in pineapple can also act as natural anti-inflammatories, helping to reduce swelling and speeding up the healing process.6
- Henrotin Y, Mathy M, Sanchez C, Lambert C. Chondroitin sulfate in the treatment of osteoarthritis: from in vitro studies to clinical recommendations. Ther Adv Musculoskelet Dis 2010 Dec;2(6):335-48.
- Rovati LC, Girolami F, Persiani S. Crystalline glucosamine sulfate in the management of knee osteoarthritis: efficacy, safety, and pharmacokinetic properties. Ther Adv Musculoskelet Dis 2012 Jun;4(3):167-80.
- Dodge GR, Jimenez SA. Glucosamine sulfate modulates the levels of aggrecan and matrix metalloproteinase-3 synthesized by cultured human osteoarthritis articular chondrocytes. Osteoarthritis Cartilage 2003 Jun;11(6):424-32.
- Deutsch L. Evaluation of the effect of Neptune Krill Oil on chronic inflammation and arthritic symptoms. J Am Coll Nutr 2007 Feb;26(1):39-48.
- Akhtar N, Haqqi TM. Current nutraceuticals in the management of osteoarthritis: a review. Ther Adv Musculoskelet Dis 2012 Jun;4(3):181-207.